State Pension Plans: Liabilities, Funded Ratios

Investment research firm Morningstar, Inc., conducted a study analyzing state pension data, finding 21 states' retirement systems to not be fiscally sound.

The report employed two primary measures to assess pension funds. The funded ratios compare a system's total assets to its liabilities. The second measure, unfunded actuarial accrued liability per capita, pegs the amount each state resident would need to pay to fully fund the system.

Twenty-one states' aggregate funded ratios fell below 70 percent, which Morningstar considers the threshold for fiscally-sound funds. When measuring liability per capita, Alaska, Illinois and Hawaii recorded the highest amounts.

The table below lists figures for 2009-2011. Additional numbers are listed at the end of Morningstar's report.

The investment firm cautions that direct comparisons between state systems can be misleading. For many plans, other public entities are liable for benefits, along with state governments. Benefit types also vary from plan to plan, along with investment strategies.

Funded Ratio Map

The following map shows funded ratios Morningstar compiled, with green states reporting the highest ratios. Click a state to display 2011 figures:
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